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Former England player Stuart Barnes says World Cup rivals should stop calling Steve Hansen’s men the “All Blacks” and “think of them as New Zealand – a little country at the bottom of the world.”
Barnes, a former first five-eighth who is now a rugby journalist, wrote a column inThe Timesabout how to beat the All Blacks at the 2019 World Cup.
“Believe it is possible,” he urged. “Stop calling them the bloody All Blacks. I know this isn’t original but it is important.
“Your team may match them for speed, skill, strength, fitness and a furious determination to be the best but if your players bed down the night before and think ‘All Blacks’, all the ability in the world won’t count against rugby’s darkest of auras. That deep-seated self-belief is crucial.
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“The lack of it is an All Black weapon that self-destructs in opponents’ faces. New Zealand have an astounding win rate but forget history. In 2017, New Zealand lost twice; ditto last season. Two defeats in 2019 and chanc
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